A Smart Food Reality Show was launched on KTN last Sunday 5th March, and will be airing every Sunday at 5pm.
The 13 episode TV show is a reality and drama series that highlights the use and importance of Smart Food, through a cooking competition. The show is hosted by Susan Kamau of Kenyan Kitchen in partnership with Strathmore Centre for Tourism and Hospitality which offers its training kitchen as the venue of the competition.
The Reality Show takes a competitive format as 9 culinary enthusiasts battle it out for the big prize in a dramatic cooking challenge. Two of the participants are students of hospitality management degree in Strathmore.
Each participant takes a cooking challenge every week and eliminates the lowest performing member as the rest proceed to the next level. The show does not only supply nutritional and culinary education on Smart Food but is also laced with emotional scenes as contestants deal with real teamwork challenges.
The winner walks away with a full scholarship to the prestigious Strathmore Professional Culinary Program 2017.
The Smart Food Reality Show is an initiative of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). This is the result of a unique collaboration between scientists and media with a new approach to popularize healthy and drought tolerant foods.
Smart Food includes grains like sorghum, millets, pigeonpea, chickpea, cowpea, greengram and groundnut. They are branded as Smart Food because they fit the three criteria:
Good for the consumer: They are highly nutritious and healthy. High in protein, vitamins and micronutrients. For example millets are highly digestible and are gluten free. Legumes on the other hand are an affordable protein. Escalating levels of diabetes can be avoided or managed by sorghum and millets because they have a low glycemic index. They are high in antioxidants – fighting against heart diseases, life style disorders and cancer.
Good for the planet: These crops are critical in the drylands as they survive the harshest of environments and are most resilient hence climate smart crops. Millets, for example, are the last crop standing in times of drought. Smart Food crops have close to the lowest water and carbon footprints of all the crops.
Good for the farmer: The climate resilience of these crops means they are a good risk management strategy for farmers. Legumes have an important contribution to soil nutrition and when rotated with other crops, even increase the water use efficiency of the entire crop rotation. Their multiple uses and untapped demand means they have a lot more potential. Unlike the other crops they have not yet reached a yield plateau and have great potential for productivity increases.
The Smart Food initiative takes on two different approaches targeting two key audiences.
- 1. Promoting dietary diversity and utilization of smart food in rural communities in 6 counties in Kenya – Busia, Siaya, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kitui, Makueni and Tharaka Nithi.
- 2. Promoting utilization of Smart Food targeting consumers nationwide through a social media campaign and the TV reality show.
The overall goal of the campaign targeting urban consumers, is to promote utilization of Smart Food for better nutrition of consumers as well as to create a demand pull for smart food thereby benefiting the smallholder farmers.
Article adapted from a press release of ICRISAT